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Fashion: Taking On Nantucket Wine Festival One Style at a Time

Nantucket Wine Festival is an annual island highlight taking place every third weekend of May. A mature crowd flocks to the festivities surrounding the festival that brings winemakers from around the world, along with top notch chefs, to an extra long weekend focused on food, fashion and of course fabulous wine. Here’s a style-guide to help you pack your bags full of looks you’ll love when you’re headed to Nantucket’s next Wine Festival.

Island dwellers come prepped to the nines in brightly colored Lily Pulitzer attire easily found at just off Main Street’s, In the Pink and a bit more trendy, but just as colorful, recently opened Shift. Men tend to get in touch with their Vineyard Vines side; dressing in seersucker, salmon, colorful pants and prints you don’t often see in big cities.

Those from off-island may find it hard to find attire that works for the variety of events they plan to attend and treads the line between island fashion and personal expression.

If you find yourself flustered and shopping without finding something that works for you stick with what you know and love.

Surprisingly enough the most compliments came while wearing a pervious season’s BCBG maxi dress (in the featured image of this post) paired with a gap denim jacket. A huge hit with shop owners, wine fest attendees and friends found along the streets; I tossed this go to outfit in my bag last minute when nothing felt quite right while shopping for new special pieces.

Another simple and timeless piece that turned heads was a cream colored boho shift dress with lace detail; paired with the same demin jacket and wedges from the day before, this easy to pack, not in need of ironing staple transitioned from day to night without a hitch. The combo of these comfortable “just me” pieces that I often toss on at home made big waves at Nantucket Wine Festival.

Rocking the same seersucker blazer and an alternating selection of t-shirts with light-weight pale gray and navy pants, my husband fit right in. His navy Lacoste boat shoes pairing with each look and adding a prepped up edge to his regular look that allowed him to still be comfortable.

However, there’s one event you should put a bit more thought into, the Gala. This kick-off to the festivities takes place Thursday evening at  White Elephant Hotel’s Brant Point Grill and spills onto their lawn.The Gala sets the mood for the weekend, and introduces guests to what’s to come, offering an endless sampling of food and wine, this cocktail party is the most difficult event to dress for. The word gala implies a need for cocktail attire if not black tie, but on Nantucket things are little more laid back, and the combo of cobblestones and expansive lawns will leave you teetering on high heels.

Slightly overdressed for the Gala
Slightly overdressed for the Gala

Donning a black Monique Lhuiller knee length dress, paired with a Nantucket- esque bright green statement necklace and a pink pashmina, I felt confident that I’d fit in among a sea of revelers who embraced all aspects of fashion. And I did, falling somewhere in between the formal and casually dressed (some in sequenced gowns, others more casually elegant in trousers).

Men were dressed in everything from suits with ties to jeans and sneakers. The best looks on the men in attendance were from those who wore a suit or blazer and slacks and opted to go tieless.

Next time, I’ll put together a look that’s a bit less fancy and go for something a little more flouncy like this J Crew  fit flare in a bright color, and for sure I’d pair my dress with wedges to add height to my 5’1″ frame. I’ll let my hubby leave the tie behind in favor of a print button down to sport under his blazer.

As for a purse, this is true cocktail party with little bites you won’t want to miss doled out by top chefs from Nantucket, Boston and beyond and paired with wines served by winemakers from around the world. Make sure your evening bag has a handle so you can enjoy every sip and nibble sent your way.

Then feel confident that you look fabulous because how you feel is what really matters when you’re at Wine Festival or anywhere.

-Reminding you that fashion only makes sense when you feel fabulous, Jess

Have you been toNantucket Wine Festival? Share your favorite fashion  photos with us at Amazing Matriarch on Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us using#amazingmatriarch. 

Simple Hair Tutorial for the Waterfall Ponytail with a Twist

Part 3 in a 6 part series

Amazing Matriarch teamed up with Moselle Sath, creative hairstylist at Shag Boston, to help create some amazing hair styles that are easy to achieve for women that are always on the go.

The Waterfall Ponytail Twist

The waterfall ponytail with a twist is exactly how it sounds.  A fun take on the ever classic ponytail, this style will add a little flavor to your normal hairstyle routine.  Our 5 minute tutorial will break down how to create a topsy tail (remember those?) without the actual hair tool that our mothers used.  Perfect for those of us that require a little extra sleep in the am or just don’t have any spare time with the stressful morning rush.  This style is so easy that you can create it in the car while you are stopped at a stoplight.  You will end up with a fresh new look to sport in the office or at school drop off and no one will realize how little effort it took.

What you need:

  • 3 clear elastics (or more, depending on how many ponytails you want to create)
  • Comb

Step 1:

Gather a small section of hair from each side of your head to create a half up ponytail and secure with an elastic on the back of your head.  Note – you want the elastic to hold your hair in place but you also want to leave it a little loose.

Step 2:

Create a part in your hair just above the elastic to make an opening for your ponytail.  Next you want to lift your ponytail up through the opening you created above the elastic in your hair.  Pull your ponytail through the front opening down through the back.  Make sure you pull the entire ponytail through.

Step 3:

Push your elastic up into the twisted tail to secure tightly in place.

Step 4:

Now you want to gather a small section of hair that is still hanging to create a second ponytail.  Make sure to include the ponytail from the first section in this second ponytail.  Repeat steps 2 & 3 until you have created 2 twisted tails.

Step 5:

Repeat these steps for as many twisted tails as you want to create.  3 is a great number to use as a guide. Keep in mind to always include the ponytail from the previous tail to ensure a uniform look for your end product.

In 5 minutes or less, you have added a nice twist to your classic ponytail and you are ready to take on the day.  Have a little extra time?  Take this hairstyle a step further and add a regular or fishtail braid to the final ponytail.

– Just one snooze button addict sharing a quick twist for your morning hair, Thia

Try this look on you and your mini me!  Share your takes on this style with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

Five Father’s Day Ideas That Require No Wrapping

If you’ve let time slip away and are panicking about what to give the father of your children this Father’s Day, then Amazing Matriarch has a few ideas you can pull off and look like a pro who planned well in advance.

1. 18 holes

Plan a round of golf with his best buds. Maybe it’s his kids or friends he rarely sees without them. If Father’s Day is not the time to let him freely hit the links, coordinate with the ladies in the lives of his foursome and book a tee time you know will work, pay for it when you call, and then let Dad play all day without the worry his phone will ring with a request from you.

2. Take something off his plate

Dad’s are busy people; take over a chore he dreads and give him some much deserved free time to spend with the family.

3. Plan an itinerary for his perfect day with the family

Think of what he likes and set a plan in motion for a day that’s all about him. Maybe he’s active and a morning hike followed by an afternoon bike ride with a cooler filled with his favorite “to go” eats in the trunk that ends with an ice cream at his favorite stand or parlor is just the ticket. Or perhaps he’s the kind who’d relish a day of peace and quiet vegging out on the couch; make his quiet time happen while you and the kids prep an elaborate feast. Perhaps he’s a foodie and a meal out is just the ticket; be sure to reserve a spot at his favorite clam shack, steakhouse, or burger joint. Whatever it is Dad loves, you do-without making him make a decision.

4. Divide the day

If your kids are still at home let each pick a special activity they want to do with Dad and divide the day into chunks so Dad can spend some one on one time with each; even if it’s just an hour to throw rocks in the neighborhood pond. It’s not often a parent of more than one little one gets to enjoy their kids solo, and it’s something every parent values.

5. Get his Dad to you to celebrate

If the father of your kids is close to his father get them together to enjoy the day. Even better if he’s far away.  Drive the many miles to pick him up, spring for a plane or train ticket and bring his Dad to your home for Father’s Day.

Then watch the smile hit his lips because nothing says I appreciate you more than a well thought out adventure.

-Sharing simple ways to show you care, Jess

Share your “unwrapped” Father’s Day got ideas with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

Repurpose Old Picture Frames with Nautical Burlap Art

Quickly Create a Cool, Coastal Look Inspired by the Waters of Maine Without the Hefty Cost

For under $15 (if you have frames on hand to reuse) you can make your own wall-art using easy to find items like: burlap, paint and stencils.  Without old frames on hand, I purchased new ones by cruising the sales and clearance sections of Home Goods and Kohl’s.  For $25, I found 4 frames that would work great for my project.  Less than an hour after starting these mini masterpieces (including drying time), I had an entire wall of art ready to hang.

Here’s what you need for your wall décor refresh:

  • Burlap Material
  • Stencils of your choice (Martha Stewart has some great templates)
  • Acrylic Paint color of your choice
  • Assorted sized paint brushes
  • Frames (if you do not already have them)

Step 1:

Take out the picture filler from the frame and use that as a template to cut your burlap to fit nicely into your frame.

Step 2:

Take your stencil of choice and place it on top of the burlap piece.  Grab a few heavier objects such as a paper weight, thick book or even a rock to hold the stencil in place while you are painting.

Step 3:

Grab your smallest paint brush, dip the tip into your paint color and then begin painting in your stencil.  I like to use a dabbing motion when painting on burlap because of the different directions of the material, I find that you have more control dabbing as opposing to regular brush strokes.

Step 4:

Once your stencil has been painted onto the burlap, remove the stencil and touch up any areas that you would like.  When you have finished, allow it to dry for at least 30 minutes.

Step 5:

When the paint is dry, take your burlap piece and insert into your frame.  This will look great with or without the glass in the frame.

This burlap art is a great way to create unique art on a budget.  Perfect for party, seasonal or holiday decor, try this project at home and transform your living space without making a dent in your wallet.

– Sharing design inspiration from my home to yours, Thia

Try this project for your home revamp and share your final product with us! Via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch. 

The Terrible Two’s Are Holding Me Hostage

I write this in a state of delirium. Countless nights have passed without quality sleep. Countless battles have been fought,  and lost as my sweet, two year old has waged war against me. Sleep is our main issue, she’s declared both going to sleep and staying in bed beyond 4am impossible. Yet she’ll nap in random spots, at random times when I cannot. I am now a fragile shell of myself who is set off by the slightest struggle, unable to rationalize and too tired to be productive.

This is not a blog of complaint; it’s a realization. Honest, and open; I know I’m not alone. Many have felt this way before me and come out the other side of the age 2. Many are in it with me.

I’ve come out the other side once before, but right now, in this state, the world is tilted. Jagged bits of self remain; mixed in I find who I’ve become and I’m not her biggest fan: a sad housewife who can’t seem to fulfill her job requirements (cook, clean, shop, provide 24/7 care to others, do laundry…) or pretend to enjoy it. I catch glimpses of the other side of 2 and know how great it will be; how I will became myself once again. But right now, I’m a hot mess.

I beg, cry and yell. None of these tactics work on a strong-willed two year old who responds, when locked in her room to clean the mess she inflicted in protest, by intentionally wetting her pants. I melt, truly just melt, into a heap on the floor hating myself for yelling-again, and frustrated that my sassy little lady won’t confirm.

But I’m also proud that she has strong convictions because her spunk will serve her well later in life; so I try not to crush her spirit all the while keeping mine. The contradiction astounding, but real and important in helping us both get through the toddler years.

While I sit here, my cute little lady requests, or should I say demands, yet another snack because beyond refusing sleep she also only eats snacks, not her meals. And I let her because I’m so tired of fighting. Her breakfast, that I consumed moments ago, hours after serving, was deserted just as many meals before.

Now she sits, quietly consuming a bag of sugary cereal (courtesy of a well meaning grandparent). Her teeth unbrushed, her hair wild, because I just don’t have the energy to fight right now. She’s watching  a movie at 9:30am, because playing with her seems like an impossible, miserable experience and I’m trying to avoid her.

I feel like a bad mom; in my irrational head a good mom would have rules she maintains without fail. A good mom’s  kids would behave with her well-planned warning system.  She’d have meal times and snack times set, and she’d be in control of her emotions at all times. Her two year old would sleep.

In moments of clarity I glance at my amazingly helpful, thoughtful, mature (beyond the potty talk) 5 year old son who did most of the caregiving when my husband and I were sick a few days back, and see things for what they are.

This is a stage; it’s called the terrible two’s for a reason. She will outgrow this stage; I may even survive it. And then in a few (not so short years) I’ll enjoy everything quite a bit more. She’ll become the helpful caring kid he is now, and maybe she’ll even let me sleep. Then I’ll look back and be thankful I have no more terrible two’s to get through.

-Keeping motherhood real in a world where perfection is expected, Jess

Find Amazing Matriarch on Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us using#amazingmatriarch. 

Family Friendly Scavenger Hunt Activity for National GO Day

The warm weather is in full effect in New England and June is the perfect month to get outdoors and enjoy some active and healthy fun in the sun.  The humidity hasn’t yet set in and the kids are still in school so you are still limited in terms of travel.  Day trips to the beach and family hikes are a favorite pastime for late afternoons and on the weekends in our household.

In recognition of National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day), Saturday, June 13, 2015, plan a family excursion to the beach or an adventurous hike through the great outdoors.  A fun activity to do with your little ones is our Amazing Matriarch scavenger hunt.

Your kids will collect an assortment of natural treasures; they will learn about other habitats and the environment (hello, hands on science), and they’ll work on developing their math skills as they count their treasures.  Best of all they’ll remember what they learned, making this hunt better than any standardized test the powers that be deem a priority.

Here’s what you need:

  • Amazing Matriarch’s Scavenger Hunt List
  • A small bag or pail to collect and store your found items

Print up Amazing Matriarch’s scavenger hunt list (click on the beach edition or forest edition images below to download), cut the page in two and create little booklets so each child has a guide of their own.  For reference, I take a single hole punch and put a hole in the top left corner of the booklet and secure with a ribbon that can then be tied to a bag with handles, or held on their wrists for easy access.  A stapler, tape or glue will work for securing the pages together in your booklet as well.

Amazing Matriarch Beach Scavenger Hunt                              Amazing Matriarch Forest Scavenger Hunt

For a few glorious minutes, you’ll get to relax a bit and enjoy nature at its finest while your kids’ attention is focused on the thrill of the hunt.

– Just one adventurer adding a little learning to Family Fun on your next outdoor excursion, Thia

Try this activity with your family on National GO day and share your experience with us via Facebook:  Amazing Matriarch,  Instagram:  amazingamtriarch or  Twitter:  @AMatriarch;  Tag us using #amazingmatriarch. 

Colorful Mommy & Me Boho Bracelets Tutorial

Create This Nordstrom Inspired, Mommy and Me Look with Our Amazing Matriarch How-To

The bohemian trend consistently reminds me of warmer weather.  I tend to stock my summer wardrobe with a lot of boho-esque pieces.  I love the comfort and  freedom of the loose, flowy fabrics when the temperatures soar.  With little effort, you can rock your inner bohemian goddess and look put together at the same time.  That’s a win win for any mom in a rush.

Recently, I came across some really fun, colorful, boho-chic bracelets at Nordstrom and I was inspired to recreate the look for less.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that these bracelets are very easy to make and look store bought. As I noticed my daughter picking them up and putting them on the moment each was completed, I decided to make her a matching set that fits perfectly.

Here’s what you need (all can be found at Michaels or your local arts and crafts store):

  • Different Variations of Colorful Beads
  • .5mm or 1mm Stretchy Elastic Cord or String (I prefer clear so you do not see the string when the bracelets stretch apart)
  • Closed Jump Ring in the Finish of your choice
  • Embroidery Floss in the Colors of your choice
  • Clear Glue

Step 1 – Stringing the Beads:

String the beads of your choice on the stretchy elastic cord.

**Tip**

Keep your string attached to the roll until you have completed stringing the beads.  This will help keep the bead in one place.  Once you have finished stringing the beads, tie a knot at the end where you inserted the beads, leaving about 1.5 inches from the knot until the end of the string so as to tie the sides together at the end.  It’s better to be generous and leave more string than less as you can always cut what you don’t use. If you don’t leave enough room at the ends then you will not be able to secure the beads properly.

Step 2:

Once you have finished stringing your beads, double knot the cord on one side (so the beads are held together).  Next, take the pair of scissors and cut the other side of the cord that is still attached to the rope.  Be sure to leave at least 1.5 inches from the end of the knot to the end of the string for the final tie.  Double knot that side of the cord so the beads do not slide and are held in place.

Step 3 – Making the Tassel:

Take an embroidery floss color of choice, that is already looped (most already come this way).  Grab your scissors and cut the floss in the middle of the loop.  Take one end of the floss bunch and wrap some clear tape around the tips.  Insert the taped side of floss through the middle of a closed jump ring.  Once the floss is inside the ring, cut a 3 inch piece of floss and wrap it around the nape of the thread (below the ring), securing with a double knot.  Next, remove the tape at the end of the tips and cut the tassel to your desired length. 

Step 4:

Once the tassel is complete, take one end of the clear cord and insert it into the middle of the tassel closed jump ring.  Finish your bracelet by securing with a surgical knot.  I like to apply 2 surgical knots and finish off the bracelet with some clear super glue to insure that the knot does not slip out of place.

These bracelets are perfect for infusing a little boho into your summer wardrobe or accentuating your swimsuit while sitting on the beach or by the pool.  Plus, they attract lots of compliments.  Make this your next mother and daughter project on a rainy day, not only will you love them but your daughters will be so excited to have a matching pair!

If you love these boho bracelets but don’t have the patience to try the look for less, here are a few of my favorites:

Just one Bohemian bringing colorful accessories to your summer wardrobe, Thia

Try this project at home with your mini me and share your experience with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us using#amazingmatriarch. 

Snacks that Outshine the Lit at Book Club

Hosting book club always leads to a menu complete with snacks from Trader Joe’s, cheese, wine and recipes I’ve been dying to try. My May menu was inspired by spring, a longing for summer and a desire to try something different. Having actually finished the book, The Girl on the Train, I was not only ready to discuss the literature (total thriller, few clues, was never sure of the ending) but excited to sit, eat and drink with the ladies I’ve been sharing lit with since 2010.

Along with my requisite cheese plate and no-fuss heat and serve Trader Joe’ s Shrimp Gyoza, I added two healthy, homemade appetizers and a crock pot dessert that made the ladies in my book club happy.

A big fan of green peas, I’d been dying to try Cooking Light’s Sweet Pea Crostini with Ricotta from the April, 2015 magazine. Feeling a little lazy (and entertaining a 2 year old all day), I skipped the whole make your own ricotta from Greek yogurt thing, and simply bought a small container of fat free ricotta cheese at my local market. This saved me a bit of time and clean-up so I could move along to other recipes before straightening out the disaster area I call my downstairs (in all fairness lots of fun is had here by my kids, but I never can quite keep up with the cleaning).IMG_2112

Assembled beforehand, these look lovely, but I opted for a make your own serving style as to limit waste because this pea spread would be fabulous on We Are Not Martha’s, Lemon Parmesan Spring Flatbread with Ricotta and Peas.

Along with the homemade crostini, I whipped up an Eating Well bean salad. Anyone with a blender, knife and can opener can master this healthy salad. A mixture of pink beans, yellow peppers, and edamame is topped with an herb focused avocado dressing that whips up in the blender in under a minute.  Served cold or at room temperature this meat free, protein packed powerhouse of  salad was flavorful and filling.

To drink we enjoyed our white and red, but in I was inspired to mix us a little sip of summer. Using pre-made Trader Joe’s Watermelon Cucumber Cooler I added a cup and 1/2 of silver tequila and a small bottle of champagne. Gently stirred, it was served in a glass over ice. This sipper was a star.

So much so that I made similar by the glass cocktails for a smaller crowd a few days later, altering the recipe to create something slightly different. Using the same Trader Joe’s Watermelon Cucumber Cooler, I subbed in a shot of  Privateer Rum and a splash of club soda. This cocktail was another winner and has me thinking that I’ll be stocking up on Trader Joe’s Watermelon Cucumber Cooler to use at all my summer gatherings.

A baker I am not; so when I found a crockpot rice pudding recipe in the June, 2015  issue of Cooking Light, I was determined to test it out, and book club gave me the perfect excuse.  This crockpot special features cardamom and vanilla beans and is topped with fresh seasonal fruit (peaches are suggested, I used nectarines).One of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made, all this recipe needed was a quick mix before I set it for 7 and 1/2 hours and forgot it for the day. The results were rich and creamy, with a sweetness that was not too strong and the essence of cardamom and vanilla. Comfort in a bowl that when served room temperature worked well for a cool spring evening.

This spread was as special as the ladies I was lucky enough to share it with.

-Finding excuses for good food and drinks on every occasion, Jess

Share your entertaining experiences with us! Via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch. 

Whole Foods Kids’ Club Brings Sanity to Parents Shopping with Kids

A devout Whole Foods shopper, I thought I knew all their secrets. On May 18, 2015  the fishmonger at my local shop rocked my world with news I’ll not soon forget- Whole Foods has a kids’ club.

Walk into any Whole Foods location with your kids and head directly to the customer service desk; tell them you’re there for the kids’ club and they’ll supply you with the treats needed to make it through the store fuss-free. With a bag of animal cookies in hand, my two year old stopped requesting to eat all the snap peas we had bagged for purchase and focused instead on her goodies.

Shopping done; kid content; mission complete. Thank you Whole Foods!

-One mom on a mission to make grocery shopping glorious, Jess

Share your Whole Food Kids’ Club experiences with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us using#amazingmatriarch. 

 

Kidgits is Calling All Young Foodies for 1st Annual Lil Chefs Event

Kidgits

The Simon Malls Kidgits Club is whipping up some creative cuisine and loads of fun with this first annual event for Lil Chefs. On Saturday, May 16th, 2015 from 12pm – 2pm, children will experience, hands-on, the endless possibilities of food pairing. At the end of the day you can expect a new generation foodies to emerge. Hosted in the Macy’s Center Court at the South Shore Plaza (250 Granite Street, Braintree, MA), there will be a variety of food focused activities including:

Never too young to learn to cook
Never too young to learn to cook
  • Healthy Snack Ideas
  • Decorating Desserts
  • Food Samples
  • Disney and Lego Activities
  • Design your own Chefs Hat Craft
  • Kidgits Club Members will receive a Free Chefs Hat & Apron

All Kidgits are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to the event to be donated to The Braintree Food Pantry to help those in need.

The Kidgits Club, which recently launced at the South Shore Plaza, is a fun and interactive program that focuses on health, wellness, education, safety and entertainment for children ages 3-8. For more information on how to become a member, visit www.simon.com/kidgets.

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